Serena Hotel: Pakistani injured, not killed, in Kabul attack

Ahmed Sharjeel Zaidi remains in coma, says embassy in statement.

Tahir Khan March 22, 2014
Afghan security personnel arrive near the Serena hotel, during an attack in Kabul March 20, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS


The Foreign Office has condemned the deadly attack on the Kabul Serena Hotel and stated that one Pakistani national was injured in the terrorist incident, according to a statement issued on Friday.

The Pakistani Embassy in Afghanistan also issued a statement saying that one Pakistani man was injured – not killed – in the Taliban attack on the hotel.

Earlier, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Seddiqi had said that one Pakistani was among the four foreigners who were killed. But Akhtar Munir, spokesperson for the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, clarified, “Not a single Pakistani has been killed.”

“Only one person by the name of Syed Muhammad Ahmed Sharjeel Zaidi is critically injured and he is in a coma,” Munir told The Express Tribune.

Zaidi, 44, is a general manager of a multinational company in Lahore who had flown into Kabul on Thursday for business. He was scheduled to return to Pakistan on Friday. He has received two bullet wounds at the head, the embassy spokesperson said.

Pakistani officials and Zaidi’s employer are making efforts to arrange an air ambulance to bring him to the country, he said.

There are four women, two of them foreigners, and a child who have been killed in the Taliban shooting on the Afghan New Year’s Eve (Nawroze), Sediqqi told Afghan Tolo News TV.

Separately, the Afghan Taliban on Friday said the attackers used special tactics in what they called “martyrdom” operations on Kabul’s Serena Hotel. The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the attack was launched after receiving credible intelligence about the presence of important foreigners, Afghan officials and members of parliament.

He said the operation continued until midnight and concluded with the killing of the Taliban men.

Giving details of the brazen attack on the heavily-guarded hotel, the Taliban spokesman said the attack was launched at around 9 pm by four suicide bombers -- Siddiqullah Maaz, Zahoorullah, Hafiz Agha Muhammad Hydari and Abdullah.

“They were equipped with the latest arms and hand grenades and succeeded in crossing all security barriers first with a huge explosion and entered the Serena Hotel. They conducted a three-hour operation.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2014.


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